Charity Cupcake Showdown sprinkles campus with flavor

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Rebecca Lee, a member of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, prepares batter for the Cupcake Showdown held at J2 Wednesday evening.

Photo Credit: Debby Garcia | Daily Texan Staff

After whipping, baking, and frosting their way through a sweet competition, one UT student organization took home the ultimate cupcake topper — a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice.

Division of Housing and Food Services hosted the Cupcake Showdown in Jester’s J2 dining hall Wednesday evening, challenging four student organizations to create the best Texas-themed cupcake.  

The competitors included service organization Texas Spirits, sorority Texas Kappa Delta, comedy troupe Gigglepants Improv and UT National Student Speech, Language and Hearing Association. The organizations were chosen following a preliminary video submission describing a cupcake they created representing their group’s ideals and mission. 

“We do a lot of work with Girl Scouts of America,” said Samantha Cade, a business sophomore and member of Texas Kappa Delta. “So in our video submission we created a Caramel deLite cupcake.”

At the start of Wednesday’s competition competitors were given a list of ingredients to be incorporated into their final submission. 

“We had Texas pecans, peaches, grapefruit, Chipotle peppers, Round Rock honey, cornmeal and a prickly pear puree,” said registered dietician Lindsay Gaydos. “They’ll be judged on the taste of the cupcake, but also how well they incorporate all the ingredients.”

Competitors were given an hour to create their cupcake. A live feed of the teams at work was broadcast on televisions throughout J2 so that attending students could watch the competition. Students were also encouraged to decorate pre-made cupcakes of their own, take pictures with the Pillsbury Doughboy in a photo booth and spin a prize wheel to win baking supplies. 

Following deliberation the judges awarded Texas Kappa Delta’s peach-pecan cupcake first prize and Texas Spirits’ grapefruit curd-filled cornmeal and honey cupcake second prize. 

Judge Alfredo Castillo, vice president of the finance and administration department of the University Residence Hall Association, said his judging criteria extended past the flavor. 

“Of course I’m looking at how effective they are in incorporating the ingredients, but I want to see creativity in the presentation,” he said. “I want to be surprised visually.”

Winners Texas Kappa Delta arranged their cupcakes in the shape of the UT Tower. The group chose to donate their winnings to Girl Scouts of America. 

“This is fun,” Christopher Akin, communication sophomore and the host of the event, said. “I think we’ve got something on Food Network.”